How To Make a Mattress for the Ana White Farmhouse Doll Bed

Over Memorial Day weekend, my husband and father-in-law made me an American Girl doll bed using the plans available at  It sat in our garage at home for a while because our weather this summer was not conducive to painting.

The bed finally got painted and it is beautiful.  Please note that my bed is a little different than the plans show because my woodworkers used beadboard paneling instead of the slats of wood shown in the plan.  Here is the bed.

wanted the mattress for my bed to look realistic without taking a huge amount of time or money.  I used a regular density (white) foam square from Jo-Ann.  The dimension of the foam is 2" x 22" x 22".        

I measured the inside dimension of my bed and decided that I wanted the mattress to be 13" x 18.75".  The easiest way to cut thicker foam is to use a straight edge ruler and a serrated knife, such as a bread knife or an electric knife.  You can see that I used a bread knife to cut my foam to 13" x 18.75".
Cut foam with serrated knife

Mattress foam in bed

I found some fabric at Jo-Ann that I thought looked similar to a mattress pattern.  If you want to use similar fabric, it was in the 45" bolted upholstery fabric at my local store.  Here are the steps I took to create the mattress cover.

1.  After you cut out the foam for your bed, cut out a rectangle of fabric that measures 8" bigger on each dimension than your foam piece.  My foam was 13" x 18.75", so I cut out a rectangle that measures 21" x 26.75"  Cut 4 inch squares out of each corner.  

*Note:  If your mattress foam is thicker than 2", the math is similar.  Multiply the thickness by 4 to get your add on number.  Take half of that number to determine the square size to cut out of the corners.  Clear as mud?  Contact me at if you need help with the math!  I'm happy to help.

Fabric with corner squares cut out
2.  With right sides together, match each corner and sew seam at 1/4".  Serge to prevent fraying.  If you don't have a serger, you can zig zag over the seam or run several lines of stitching close together in the seam allowance.

This photo illustrates how to fold the fabric

You will sew the 4" seam at the bottom of the fabric pictured here.
All four corners sewn
Detail shot of sewn corner
3.  After you have sewn all four corners, you will turn up the hem.  Turn up 1/4" all the way around and press.  Turn up 1/4" again and press.  Stitch close to the folded up edge all the way around.

* Note:  Be sure to use a temperature that is compatible with your fabric. I had my iron a little too hot for my fabric and it pressed the raised pattern right out of my fabric!  Oops.

Ready to sew hem in place

4.  After your hem is stitched in place, put your mattress cover onto the foam, taking the time to make sure corners are lined up and filled in nicely.  Adjust as needed.

5.  You are now going to miter the corners and hand stitch them in place.  Use straight pins to hold the fabric in place nicely.  Firmly smooth out one side of one corner.  Try to line up your seam with the edge of the foam.  Pin in place.  Fold up the other edge of the photo to create a nice 45 degree angle.  Make sure the hemmed edges match up.  Adjust as necessary until you are happy with the placement.  Hand stitch miter in place.  Repeat on all four corners.

Pin first side in place
Fold second side into place, creating a tidy miter, and pin
Hand stitch corner in place, making sure to knot thread securely
All four corners hand sewn 
If you are not into hand sewing, you could try sewing elastic around each corner instead, as if you were making a fitted sheet.  I tried that first, but was extremely unhappy with how the heavier fabric gathered.  It was lumpy and just looked sloppy.  So I ripped it out and hand sewed the corners in place.  Voila!  A nice, taut mattress for my bed. Here's the finished mattress:

Next up:  sheets, blanket, and quilt.  Stay tuned!  I will post tutorials for each item as I finish them.